Sunday, May 20, 2018
News Roundup

Brooksville radio talk show host Bob Haa, 65, dies

BROOKSVILLE — One thing that station manager Steve Manuel is certain about when it came to Bob Haa, the morning talk show host on WWJB-AM 1450: You never had to guess about his viewpoint on a particular issue.

To those who lean toward the conservative end of the political spectrum, Mr. Haa was a sage, thoughtful voice of reason. But to those on the other side, whom he often labeled as leftists, Marxists and "fruitcakes," he was an indignant smart mouth who would say just about anything to stir the pot.

Manuel, who hired Mr. Haa (pronounced HAY) in 1990 and gave him free rein to run his weekday talk show as he saw fit, said he never regretted the decision.

"In my opinion, Bob was the best at what he did," Manuel said Tuesday. "He had a passion for it and an edge that could stimulate callers and feedback. And that's what you want to have in this business."

The 65-year-old host of WWJB's Haa-Wire program died Monday at Brooksville Regional Hospital, where he was admitted Saturday. Manuel, who was out of town over the weekend, said he didn't know the exact cause of death, but believed it was related to cardiac and respiratory health issues that kept Mr. Haa off the air for several weeks last year.

On Tuesday morning, callers to the station sang Mr. Haa's praises and remembered him as a man who stood up for his beliefs and played watchdog to their interests, especially when it came to local government.

"He was like a big brother who stood up for you," recalled Doug Davis, a Brooksville resident who called Haa's show frequently. "He got people fired up and believing that they had a valid say in the way things are being run by the people they elected. He didn't like seeing them get away with things."

Mr. Haa railed often on what he considered unfair taxation, Manuel said, and complained about things such as red-light cameras and government programs and services he felt were wasteful and burdensome. However, his approach was not universally appreciated.

Former county Commissioner Jeff Stabins blamed Mr. Haa for helping to create the negative attitude in the county that became pervasive enough to help drive away several county administrators.

"He was a malevolent mouthpiece for malcontents,'' Stabins said Tuesday.

On at least one occasion, Mr. Haa's views stretched the boundaries of the First Amendment. In 2009, he was visited at the station by a Secret Service agent investigating a conversation he had with a caller who mentioned ammunition, target practice and President Barack Obama. The host dismissed the investigation as a "waste of time" and thanked his listeners for supporting him.

Mr. Haa arrived in Brooksville in 1983, at a time when WWJB was playing mostly country music. He wanted to do talk radio, which was just breaking out of a mundane discussion-oriented format and into a more topically driven direction. His passion for devouring news and editorial content from newspapers and television provided plenty of fodder.

"He was always well prepared when he came in to do the show," Manuel said. "If you were going to challenge him, you needed to have your facts straight."

Off air, Mr. Haa was someone who avoided the limelight, Manuel said. He preferred spending time with his wife, Andi, playing golf and watching sports.

Funeral arrangements for Mr, Haa are being handled by Brewer and Sons Funeral Home.

Staff writer Barbara Behrendt contributed to this report. Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

Comments
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Updated: 1 hour ago
For starters: Rays at Angels, with Romo again as “the opener”

For starters: Rays at Angels, with Romo again as “the opener”

UPDATE, 2:27: If the Rays win today, it would be their first four-game sweep since Sept. 20-23, 2013, vs. Baltimore and first on the road since Aug. 16-19 here at Anaheim. … It also would be the first time they swept back to back series on the ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Family, friends recall shooting victims’ optimism, humor

Family, friends recall shooting victims’ optimism, humor

SANTA FE, Texas — A 17-year-old student looking forward to celebrating his family's new swimming pool and a substitute teacher whose home frequently hosted family gatherings were among the 10 people killed in a mass shooting at a Texas high sch...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Softball: Scouting the Academy at the Lakes vs. Lake Worth Christian semifinal

Softball: Scouting the Academy at the Lakes vs. Lake Worth Christian semifinal

Academy at the Lakes (24-4) vs. Lake Worth Christian (10-3)Where: 11:50 a.m. Monday at Historic Dodgertown, Vero BeachHow they got thereAcademy at the Lakes defeated Seacrest Country Day 11-1, defeated Canterbury 5-1Lake Worth Christian defeated...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Playing .500 ball is obviously no goal, and the Rays certainly know that.But given where they came from, that terrible 1-8 start that oozed into 3-12 and 4-13, climbing back to the respectability of .500 would be an accomplish...
Published: 05/20/18

Up to two tons of fertilizer spilled into channel leading to Tampa Bay, Kinder Morgan reports to state

TAMPA — As much as two tons of fertilizer accidentally spilled into a channel that leads to the upper part of Tampa Bay, according to a report sent Friday night to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. DEP spokeswoman Dee Ann Mil...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The first part of the Rays' new and unusual pitching plan worked so well Saturday, as game "opener" RHP Sergio Romo struck out the first three Angels hitters, that the Rays will do it again on Sunday.That's right. Romo will st...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/20/18
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

TAMPA — A two-goal lead was suddenly only one, and the Washington Capitals, having pulled their goalie, had a furious 96-second siege.Andrei Vasilevskiy made the last three of his 28 saves to preserve the Lightning's 3-2 victory Saturday in Gam...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/20/18
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

TAMPA — Dan Girardi knew where the puck was heading. It was heading to Alex Ovechkin for a one-timer on net, so Girardi did the only thing he could do. He blocked it.With his rump."It hit me right in the cheek," said Girardi, the Lightning defe...
Published: 05/19/18